Our family had a loss this past week. This blog post is personal and how I am feeling, how I feel about my Aunt Ruth. Ruth faced her illness with grace. An inspiration to all that knew her. I had the honor of being one of many nieces to Ruth. Even though I was one of many, she always made me feel like I was the only one.
When most adults would tire of me during one of our many family gatherings she would take the time to listen to my crazy stories of my imaginary friends, she would sit there hanging on every word. Always being so patient with me. Telling the other adults that it is a childrens world all for a few minutes and then we would be all grown & she was right.
Aunt Ruth was always the first person I would look forward to seeing the most at Uncle Bills and Aunt Evelyns Christmas party at their Bellevue home. Seeing the Yellow Station wagon made me always feel like the festivities had finally begun.
I think of all that Jam she spent hours making, and I think of how tired she must have felt, not feeling well as an adult I now understand just how hard that must have been for her and her polio. I will never be able to drive down Chico and to the Silverdale water front and not think of her.
Over the years I brought many friends and extended family with me to the BBQ’s the first Saturday of August for as long as I can remember. Aunt Ruth is the one the threw out the welcome mat to all of them, never being mad that one more person was here and one more mouth to feed. I truly think that is why I love to entertain.
I will miss her warm smile, loving words, and her compassionate presence. The Longmate family had the great honor of being loved by Ruth Antoinette Longmate and we are a better family for that. We will miss you but we know you will always be a part of us.
Ruth Antoinette Longmate, surrounded by her loving family, passed away peacefully on March 30, 2010, at the age of 83. Ruth was born July 8, 1926 in Olympia, Washington to William Bell White Howe and Caroline Ruth Howe. She moved to Silverdale at the age of nine where she has lived for all but a few years of her life. Her early years were full of athletic activity, including water skiing, tennis, ice skating and snow skiing. She was a 1944 graduate of Silverdale High School (now Central Kitsap) and worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard before attending Whitman College and the University of Washington where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. It was in an advanced statistics class at the UW that Ruth met her future husband, John Frederick Longmate, of Kingston, WA. John and Ruth were married at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bremerton on November 24, 1950.
Ruth contracted polio in August 1955, leaving her partially paralyzed. She was so ingenious in finding ways to conquer her disabilities that she was nominated as March of Dimes Mother of the Year; a 1959 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article described her as “a woman who had the courage to fight back to a normal life—without heroics.” Despite her limited mobility, she assumed an active role in her children’s lives as a Cub Scout den mother and leader with the Camp Fire girls. She enjoyed Bridge Club and never tired of gathering pirate treasures which would be buried for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to “discover” on the beach. When one met Ruth her disabilities quickly fell into the shadow of the bright light of her charming smile and welcoming hospitality. Ruth’s and John’s house was the center for multigenerational Easter, Christmas, and Independence Day family gatherings for more than fifty years along with high school reunions and PSNS summer picnics. Ruth was famous with all the neighborhood children for her welcoming home, plenteous activities and unending supply of homemade root beer.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, brother Jack Howe, and sisters Lue Seil and Ellen Craswell. Ruth is survived by her husband John of Bremerton, sister Rose Quimby of Sammamish, and brothers Bill Howe (Darlene) of University Place and Rick Howe (Lee) of Panama City, Florida. She is additionally survived by her children Jack Longmate (Beatriz) of Poulsbo, Jim Longmate of Bremerton, Janet Hutchison (Coe) of Bothell, Steve Longmate (Helen) of Poulsbo, Carol Smiley (Chuck) of Bremerton and twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating Ruth’s life will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 700 Callahan Dr., Bremerton, WA at 2:00PM on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Kitsap County, March of Dimes, Polio Outreach of Washington or Central Kitsap Food Bank.